The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, May 2, 2019

National Golf Day — Wonderful segment on Morning Drive — Must-click links in women's golf

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The State of the Game

Welcome back! Yesterday (May 1) was National Golf Day, so naturally, I want to lay out some really awesome statistics about some of the big things happening in the golf industry. Particularly, all the good that the game of golf brought to our society in 2018 and the direction the game is headed when it comes to girls, women and people of diverse backgrounds! Here are a few I want to highlight and expand on some more.

  • Over 107 million people played, watched or read about golf last year.

  • Including off-course play (like Topgolf), participation was 33.5 million in 2018, up from 32.1 million in 2017.

  • About 20 years ago, one in 12 U.S. juniors were ethnically diverse; today, that number is one in four.

  • Two decades ago, one in six U.S. juniors were girls and today it is one in three.

  • The PGA TOUR generated $190 million for charity last year.

  • A record-tying 2.6 million golfers played for the first time in 2018.

  • New golfers are more diverse and younger than the overall golf population: 31% are women, 26% are non-Caucasian.

  • The number of girls in the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program has soared from 4,500 per year in 2010 to 80,000 in 2018, a 1,700% growth in participation.

I know I’m partial to golf and how much fun it is, but these numbers are comforting. It would be extremely interesting to look at the 2.6 million people who played golf for the first time in 2018 — and see in what capacity. Did they take lessons? Go to Topgolf? Tag along with a group of friends? Just go to the driving range? Being I’m wrapped up in the world of golf, I now see all the different opportunities to play golf and what resources are available.

At the PGA of America, we have nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals who are the hands and feet of our organization who work everyday to grow and teach the game of golf at country clubs and scattered throughout other golf entities.

If you are new to golf, just know there are so many golf professionals itching to get you started! I’ve been told that once you start picking up golf, you’ll get worse before you get better. And I would definitely agree with those sentiments! It’s a very technical game and I feel like that’s what makes it addicting and fun. It’s a game you can’t ever truly master — so something any competitive person (like myself) may be attracted to.

To me, the best way to get started is go out with a group of people who 1) know and understand golf and 2) are fun to be around. I think at surface level, golf is still somewhat intimidating, but golfing with people you’re comfortable with is an absolute game changer. I’m also the kind of person who likes people telling me what I’m doing wrong and giving me little pointers if I shank it every time off the tee. It really is all about having fun at the start and maintaining that fun! Otherwise, what’s the point?

Outside of the millions of golfers who tried golf for the first time in 2018, looking at the increase in girls, women and non-Caucasian golfers is music to my ears (and probably yours, too). As I touch on below in the links and Tweet of the Week, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome were recently offered maternity exemptions into the U.S. Women’s Open. Times are certainly changing where we are making women feel empowered for starting families, and not penalizing them for it.

And as a result, these moms are having their kids join golf because of their positive experience. I’m reading a book right now that is essentially a ton of research behind millionaires. I was shocked to find out that majority of millionaires are first-generation as opposed to trust-fund babies or sons/daughters that take over the family business. Why? Because the sacrifices that go into being a millionaire sometimes hurt family and social life. It isn’t very glamorous, so they don’t encourage their kids and grand kids to take on a similar lifestyle.

Crazy, right? The same can probably be said for golf. If we don’t have great experiences, we more than likely won’t pass it on to our own people. Golf is definitely trending upwards in this category, and we’re seeing the impact in statistics as these.

This Week in Women’s Golf

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

The USGA announces maternity exemptions for Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome.

The LPGA tees it up in San Francisco today with a $1.8 million purse on the line.

Lydia Ko has very fond memories of Lake Merced after last year’s wild finish.

She also parted ways with her instructor and is now looking for a new one.

Minjee Lee won the LA Open last week for her fifth LPGA title.

One of the LPGA’s top players, Lexi Thompson, is giving up social media.

Does the LPGA even have a choice when it comes to moving the ANA Inspiration?

So, there’s a 50% chance ANA Inspiration dates WILL move to accommodate ANWA.

Here are a couple LPGA rookies currently lighting it up on tour.

A look at Euros playing well this year on the LPGA.

For Stacy Lewis, having a child changed everything but one thing.

There’s massive talent on the LPGA, but still seeking the next big star.

An awesome look at the state of golf for 2019 from Forbes.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Stacy Lewis

Last week at the LA Open, Stacy was in the running for a first place finish and led the field after the first round. What’s especially impressive about this is that she just had a baby in October and took a good amount of time off last season. There was a really great segment on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive about her tearing it up in 2019, already, and proving that it is indeed possible to be a working mom on tour. Highlighting moments like this are huge for the sport, when there a lot of different components that come into play when you ask women why they don’t play golf. Not only is it a sport that can be sustained and played for a lifetime. but one that is still possible to play, and excel at, even with a family.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by The IX Team